August 29th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

The Craig thing

Ritual disclaimers upfront:  I make no assertion as to Craig's actual sexual orientation and frankly think it is irrelevant.

What is relevant is his honesty or lack of it, his intelligence or lack of it, and his behavior, which is documented in this case.

Also relevant is the difference in how a rich, prominent, powerful man is treated by law enforcement and how ordinary people are treated.

Senator Craig, whose identity was not known to the officer involved until the arrest, engaged in behavior which an experienced police officer identified as solicitation of sexual acts, while in a men's restroom at an airport.  If these acts would have resulted in the arrest of someone else, then they quite properly resulted in Sen. Craig's arrest. 

Senator Craig apparently tried to get out of the arrest by stating his position: that he was a Senator.  Mistake number one, and an indictment of his morality (failure to take responsibility for his acts,  demanding special treatment, abuse of his position) and intelligence (did he really think this was going to work outside his own state?) 

Months later, he pleaded guilty to the charge, having kept quiet about the arrest, and now says his own mistake was in pleading guilty.  Mistakes two and three: keeping quiet about it (if you're going to later claim you did nothing wrong, why keep quiet about it?) and trying to get people to think a guilty plea was just a momentary lapse of attention.  Both are indictments of his morality (deception by concealment, in the first case, and failure to take responsibility for his acts, in the second) and his intelligence (what would any reasonable person expect to happen if they tried to hide the fact they'd been arrested...what would any intelligent person expect to happen if they pled guilty to something, and then later claimed they hadn't done it?)

He  has made the claim that he's been unfairly hounded and harrassed by claims that he's engaged in gay sex...but you know, there are a lot of Republican politicians against whom that charge has never been made.  And now he's been caught doing something that looks, to an experienced police officer one of whose assignments is to check out airport restrooms because of complaints of sexual misconduct...and he's still saying he didn't do anything wrong and the media are totally unfair.

What's really unfair is the way he was treated...daintily, one might almost say.   The incident occurred back in June--June 11, to be specific.   He was arrested; a mug shot was made.   Then he was let go...and not until August 8  did he have to plead guilty or not guilty.  Point one: he had from June 11 to August 8 to think what to do, and get legal (and even political) advice.  Instead, he kept it a deep dark secret.  This was not smart, to put it mildly.   Point two: Think for a moment of what happens to the people caught in other sexual misconduct stings....they spend a night, at least, in jail.  They may be held in jail until they plead. 

After he pled guilty, he paid a fine (barely more than court costs, I would think) and paid a fines and fees of a mere $575
.   Then he was put on unsupervised probation for a year.  A sentence of 10 days in the county workhouse was stayed.   Unsupervised probation?  What is that?  And the ten days in the workhouse was stayed...indefinitely, no doubt.   Consider again a more ordinary guy arrested for exactly the same behavior.  Bet he'd have had those ten days in the workhouse...unless of course he was rich, powerful, "connected."

I travel a lot.  I have traveled with our son, who is good-looking and tall and looked adult in size long before he was adult in age--and even now he's socially not his chronological age (he's autistic.)   I can easily imagine how frightened and confused and upset he would be in an airport restroom if someone made advances to him.  (We've tried to discuss it and explain what to do--but as every parent of an autistic kid knows, they can't always do it.)  The thought that the creep in the next stall might be a U.S. Senator, and might claim, afterwards, that he'd done nothing wrong, makes me want to vomit.

Craig has always presented himself as a snowy-pure family man.  He has been vehemently anti-gay.  This would not be the first time that a vehemently anti-gay person was actually engaging in homosexual acts.  I don't care whether he's gay or not.  I do care that he's dishonest, tries to evade responsibility for his actions, attacks others to cover his own tracks, and apparently about as smart as your average brick.  With holes in it.  And I care that our "justice" system is so unequal in its treatment of those accused of crimes.